Charleston is for Pretend Lovers

Fitz and JoanneI don’t like big exotic vacations in fancy hotels. I inherited my mom’s longstanding fear of getting framed for a crime in a foreign country. Once you stand trial and, of course, lose, you have to live the rest of your life abroad in prison. She has illustrated this fear to me with frequent references to the Sally Field movie, “Not Without My Daughter.”

That’s why my weekend fling to Charleston, SC was so perfect: My bestie Fitz and I’s only crime was eating our weight in hot pralines. We’ve done much worse things back home. Once we sang a karaoke version of “Last Dance” at a Labor Day festival while grinding on each other, much to the horror of middle-aged moms with small children.

Fitz and I want you to have a top notch quickie vacation too. Here’s what we did. Note: These travel tips double as cautionary tales.

1) Gorge yourself at the Riverstreet Sweet Shop. These candy purveyors aren’t afraid to heap pecans into their pralines. A fabulous man employee in the store will scream, “Free samples!” as if they are made out of Judy Garland and Liza Minelli and RuPaul combined. Buy and eat them hot. You will forget all of your life goals. I brought home two pounds because a 1/2 pound was free. Don’t judge. You haven’t tasted them yet.

2) Gorge yourself at Taco Boy. I don’t know what kind of beans this Mexican restaurant uses in their nachos. Listing them as “Cowboy Beans” on the menu doesn’t clear up things either. But I do know Fitz and I inhaled them like feral children. Also, sharing a Baja fish taco and drinking The Original Frozen Screwdriver in the sun is flipping bliss.

3) Stop eating and drinking for half a second. Take your growing fatness on a walk along the Battery. Get some fresh sea air on the wharf, which will make you hungry for the praline you stashed in your purse. Go to Affordables in the historical district and buy yourself a pair of stretch pants to anticipate your 5-10 pound weight gain.

4) Sneak onto the rooftop of the Market Pavilion Hotel. That fancy vacation you’ve been phobic about? These buttoned-up banker types are on said fancy vacation, and they’re all wearing the same sports jacket. They are paying $500 a night to spend time with wives who babble about getting new charms for their Pandora bracelets. Ruin their day with your peeling brown loafers and childish gasps at how the pool lights up.

5) End the trip on Sullivan’s Island and fool people into thinking you’re a couple. Fitz refused to sit in the sand as I rolled around like Ralphie’s bundled up brother in A Christmas Story. Walk down the beach and get two middle-aged men playing Bocce Ball to say, “She’s a keeper.” Wrap your arms around your bestie’s waist like you want his body.

I urge you to take this kind of weekend vacation, even if it’s not fancy. Especially if it’s not fancy. There is nothing better than shoveling nachos in your face and your best friend saying without judgment, “You have Cowboy Beans in your hair.”


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